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Samsung Bixby 2.0 might arrive this week

Samsung Bixby in native context mode (Source: Samsung)
Samsung Bixby in native context mode (Source: Samsung)
Although the current version still has to add support for a few widely used languages, Samsung Bixby 2.0 is apparently on its way and the updated virtual assistant is expected to come with improved third-party integration and support for other devices than smartphones.

Samsung has a new developer conference scheduled for this week and, according to The Korea Herald, the first major update of the company's mobile virtual assistant will be unveiled during this event. Samsung Bixby is still fresh since it has been introduced alongside the Galaxy S8 and the Galaxy S8+ back in late March. This product is based on the S Voice voice assistant that arrived back in 2012 with the Galaxy S3

Last Thursday, the South Korean tech giant confirmed that Samsung Research America's vice chief Chung Eui-Suk has been appointed as the head of the service intelligence group located in the South Korean headquarters of the company. This group is in charge of Bixby and other AI-driven services. In the past, Chung was involved in smartphone research for Ericsson and Samsung, also leading a Samsung Research America mobile platform and solution lab located in Silicon Valley since 2015.

Insiders familiar with the matter claim that Samsung's chief technology office Rhee In-Jong, previously in charge of the Korean and English Bixby versions, will no longer handle this task and will only focus on smartphone development instead. However, The Korea Herald quoted Samsung as saying "Chung’s new move cannot be seen as Rhee’s replacement as Rhee will continue to remain as the head of development 1 division that oversees the service intelligence group."

Bixby is sailing rough waters these days since most users and reviewers still see it as a beta product. The English version was delayed about two months due to various problems, and the updates that disabled the remapping of the Bixby button did not help this product to become more popular, either.

Recent reports claim that Samsung plans to launch a Bixby-powered speaker soon, and we would not be surprised to see this product unveiled during the company's October 18 Developer Conference in San Francisco. A Bixby version for desktop PCs would be great, but this is probably too much to ask at this stage. We will probably have to live with improved third-party integration and the Bixby speaker for a while unless Samsung comes up with something surprising this Wednesday.


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Codrut Nistor, 2017-10-16 (Update: 2017-10-16)